General Characteristics of Iodoform

Iodoform is an organoiodine compound which has a formula of CHI3 and belongs to the family of organic halogen compounds. It is a crystalline pale yellow substance which is volatile in nature. It has a penetrating and distinctive odour with a sweetish smell which is analogous to chloroform. It was widely used in hospitals and described as the smell of a hospital due to its distinctive odour. Iodoform is commonly used as a disinfectant and antiseptic component of some medications due to its non irritant action.

Preparation and properties of iodoform

It is manufactured by the electrolysis of aqueous solution containing acetone, inorganic iodides and sodium carbonate. Iodoform is also known as tri-iodomethane, carbon tri-iodide and methyl tri-iodide. The names are due to the presence of three iodine molecules in the compound. This wound dressing chemical causes a burning sensation when applied to open wounds. The molecular weight of the compound is 393.73 g/mol with melting point of 121°C. The substance is highly pure with a purity percentage of 98 %, this value is much higher than most of the substances. The key features of this compound are balanced composition, high purity and effectiveness. It is a very skin friendly chemical as it does not cause any itching or irritation except that it causes burning sensation on open wounds.

Uses of iodoform

On a small scale iodoform is used as a disinfectant. In the 20th century it was used as a component in medicines for healing and antiseptic dressing of wounds and sores. It was also used for sterilising instruments used for surgery. There are many side effects associated with iodoform and therefore its use has now been suppressed with the evolution of new antiseptics. It is an active ingredient for making of cat and dog powders along with zinc oxide and propanoic acid which are used in order to prevent infection. It also facilitates the removal of ear hair.

This article briefly explains the properties of iodoform and its application. For any further query on this topic install BYJU’S the learning app.

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